Friday, December 8, 2023

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Some Whatsapp groups focus tremendous attention and energy on anti-vaccine messages, videos and opinions. Most of their “information” and “expert opinions” emanate from obscure religio-fundamentalist online journals and portals that apparently see no demarcating lines between religion and science ~ and are aimed at primeval human instincts. Most of such “information” is reported to be “research” of medical and health experts ~ who appear to be rooted firmly in rabidly deep-seated religious doctrines. Amongst such groups there actually seem to be a large number of highly educated/degreed people, who really believe that the COVID vaccines are dangerous to human health and closely related to some chapters and versus of the Bible ~ particularly to the number 666, which is said to be Satan’s number. There are also numerous references to the “mark of the beast” but the Bible doesn’t seem to indicate any specific image. Now, as we know these Whatsapp groups and online journals and portals have no borders and boundaries therefore they are available to everyone across the globe ~ not least members in Nagaland. So yes, there are large numbers of Whatsapp messages that “caution” against the vaccines, talk of the end of days, 666 and the “mark of the beast”, etc. ~ basically addressing to the ultra fundamentalist elements across the globe through fake news. And, there are those among our own, whose imaginations have been totally captivated by such “information” and “caution”, fake news, etc. In fact, some amongst our own are so taken in by all these Whatsapp messages that apparently the authors of such messages and their disciples, who forward them faithfully, are “preaching to the choir”. And, amongst this “choir”, there appears to be quite a number of our very own influential, powerful and highly regarded and respected people. This probably is a cause for the vaccine hesitancy our Government is still grappling with. Sure, everyone has a right to his/her opinion but does that right include the prerogative to confuse, create doubts and cloud the judgment of people, who are not privileged and advantaged to think for themselves for various reasons ~ worse still, who are totally influenced, dominated and controlled by, as also indebted to ~ influential, powerful and highly esteemed people in our society and State? This question is relevant not only to the vaccines but also to votes and so many other issues related to human life and limbs, rights, freedoms, liberty, equality, freedoms, etc., by the way. But for today, let us confine ourselves to COVID vaccines. The messages of anti-vaxxers is basically the vaccine is bad, anti-Christ, sign of 666 indicating the end of days, a “mark of the beast”, beginning of the “new world order” for Bill Gates, the pharma industry, etc., to take over the world ~ therefore people must not get vaccinated and protest against it. However, we see no messages of solution to the COVID-19 pandemic. Why is that? If we say that COVID vaccines are bad ~ for whatever reasons ~ surely we must provide a solution to offset the virus’ threat, which has claimed over 5 million lives globally? It is strange that people who use technology to keep pace with the latest do not question anti-vaxxers’ posits ~ clearly this underscores the difference between literacy and education, degrees and enlightenment, information and knowledge, absurdity and wisdom. So really, if not vaccines, what are the other options against the virus? Besides, no one claimed 100% efficacy of the vaccines, as much as no one claimed 100% efficacy of any vaccines, medicines including antibiotics and treatments ~ there is always that margin of error ~ or let’s say the chance that even the most tried and tested may not work in any or all situations. True, there are also reports of re-infections and deaths after vaccination but we still don’t know the exact cause of such re-infections and deaths. So far, there are only assumptions of the vaccines being the cause of these deaths ~ not established evidential facts. Re-infections are also under research ~ every human body reacts differently to numerous factors and it is yet to be established how each human body reacts to numerous factors. What we assume to be the healthiest practices for good health lets down some people while the worst health habits doesn’t seem to adversely affect others. How do we explain that? We can’t. Neither does anti-vaccine Whatsapp messages. Vaccines are still our best bet ~ and the results are showing.